HALO Drones director, Philip Tarry discusses and offers his opinion on the future of drones and the industry.
Much depends on Brexit, whether we remain a part of the European Regulator for Aviation or not. The new changes as a result of the Gatwick drone incident back in December 2018 won’t influence our industry much as they have pretty much been in place already, so in terms of the short-term government policies which came out on 7th January 2019, they are amendments to what already existed. There will be registrations and competency tests implemented from November 2019 and are most likely going to affect hobbyists, not commercial users.
Predicting the future…
Although this does depend on Brexit ‘deal or no deal’, one can assume we will remain part of European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), because if we are not, we won’t be allowed to fly from the UK in a manned aircraft and go on holiday in Europe. There would be no regulations for us to operate resulting in billions of pounds lost to our economy. I predict we will remain part of EASA which means we will adopt their rules and regulations.
The training requirements for commercial purposes will always remain for complex operations with bigger drones, because these European regulations are essentially suggesting there will be very little training requirements for a lot of what drones are already used for. So, if you only use drones for filming and photography and you’re largely remaining away from people then you won’t need any form of training. You may have to do an online competency test but that will be it.
Arguably in the event of another Gatwick drone incident and the drone hits someone, the regulations will change again and be made more restrictive because the government will be obliged to take action. I believe training will always be an important aspect of all commercial operations and what we will see more of is what I refer to as non-standard operations, where the industry will continue to push the boundaries and drone training schools will need to serve their requirements. We are already working on new training courses to meet the future requirements of drone operators and the future drone requirements will be extended visual line of sight, beyond visual line of sight and reduce proximities to flying things outside of your control.
I predict that we will continue to find new applications for drones as technology providers like DGI find new technology to strap under their drones. The accuracy of the data we capture will continue to improve and because of the flexibility of drones they will become more ubiquitous within industries like surveying, construction and inspection whereas at the moment they’re just starting to see an uptake with the pace increasing but we’ve not seen the tipping point yet. From a training point of view, we are going to see more people coming through from those sectors, and more so from companies rather than individuals.
This is why at HALO Drones we have training courses specifically relevant to these companies and their teams of people, we’ve come from a background in operating drones for commercial purposes and understand how the technology is used, how it feeds into existing workflows within these organisations to provide the relevant training, information and knowledge.